This is the first installment of the series: The Top 7 Ways to Connect Visitors to Your Church
1. Take Responsibility for Visitor Connection
The fundamental question that must be answered before building a visitor connection process is "Who's job is it to connect visitors to your church?"
Historically, the burden has fallen to the visitor to connect themselves. This sounds silly, but most churches respond to a first visit with a letter, postcard or even gifts. Then they wait for the visitor to return so that they can respond again. This puts the next move squarely on the shoulders of the visitor. I believe that pastors and staff must take responsibility for visitors as an issue of stewardship. A new visitor, or even an entire family, represents a gift with which God has entrusted to you and your church. This should not be taken lightly. When I work with pastors who are struggling to determine an effective connecting process, I ask this question:
What actions would constitute faithful stewardship of the
gift (the visitor) that God gave you?
The answer to this question should become your connection process.
It is fine to acknowledge a second or third visit if they let you know by filling out your welcome card or signing your book again. In fact, you had better
respond. The problem is that this is NOT a connection process! It is just a reaction to what happened. We all know by now that any visitor who attends three times is highly likely to join a church. But what do you do that increases the chance of that actually happening? A connection process where the church has accepted the responsibility of connecting visitors to them will involve proactive contacts that encourage involvement regardless of whether or not a visitor returns right away. In addition, the quality
of the contacts will be higher than a standard form letter or e-mail. Perhaps a phone call rather than a letter. It could even involve a Facebook or texting conversation. The best method must be determined by the situation at hand and what action would have the highest chance of making the visitor feel welcome and accepted. People respond to a genuine interest in their lives. They will spot an obligatory phone call a mile away!
Real responsibility involves using methods that
have a high probability of being effective.
Next: 2. Focus on Households